May 2023 Photo of the Month

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For May we chose an image from our Louisiana Birds and Bayous Workshop created by Nancy Lehrer. Nancy is primarily a street photographer. She signed up for this workshop to learn more about wildlife and bird photography. We hope you enjoy Nancy’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to May 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Nancy Lehrer

The Story… 

We were heading towards an alligator on the boat. I heard Tom yell, “Look at the light, look at the light.”

In that part of the swamp there was less moss. It seemed like there were two parts to the swamp. There were light green, mossy parts and then there were these dark green and brown parts. When we arrived in this spot I had not seen the dark green part before.

I was trying to get the reflections and the floating algae. I shot about 20 frames, but the focus wasn’t right. I focused on the reflection and not on the plants. I decided to try a wider angle lens instead. I grabbed my 24-105 mm lens. I wanted to capture the feeling of a bowl. Wide angle images give more of a fisheye feeling. I wanted the feeling of a lake in front of the trees.

I didn’t put the tops of the trees in the image because they are in the sun light. It would be too much contrast with the understory. By focusing on the reflection, the viewer can see the sky in the reflection on the water. I also wanted to capture the side lighting that brought out the yellow tones on the trees

May 2023 Photo of the Month

EXIF Data:

Camera: Sony A7 R5

Lens: 24-105mm f4

ISO: 640

Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec

Aperture: f/9

Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority

Shot at 30mm, handheld

Great Blue Heron taking flight

About Photographing in Louisiana’s Swamps

I am really not a wildlife or landscape photographer. I found that photographing in the swamp was very much like doing street photography. The actors were the animals. We were gliding on the boat like I’d be walking down the street, very slowly.

It was very peaceful in the swamp. The animals were in their habitat. I found myself just looking around for animals, birds, turtles, alligators.

Great Egret feeds chicks in a mixed wader rookery

Nancy’s Tips for Bird Photography

  1. Get a camera that has really good Auto Focus. I rented a Sony A7 R5 for this trip and it made a big difference.
  2. Using a monopod really helped me be stable. It meant I didn’t have to worry about fatigue. I practiced with it at home on the birds in the backyard.
  3. Be a good motion detector. Look for motion and then follow the bird.
  4. Look for birds that are stationary and getting ready to take off. That’s the only way I can count on getting birds in flight.
  5. Connect the bird to the landscape. It’s just like street photography. The background should tell a story.
  6. Watch the behaviors. Keep shooting different behaviors and decide later which is the best image.

Louisiana has more alligators than any where else in the world

On Nancy’s Horizon:

Hokkaido, Japan for fishing villages and the Ice festival

Iditarod in Alaska

The Silk Road in China

Anywhere in eastern Europe: Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republique

Nancy, the wildlife photographer

Where are Tom and Cree?

We are headed to Africa to photograph in Tanzania for two weeks. Then it’s up to Alaska for our annual Brown Bears at Summer Solstice trip. We have space for 1 male photographer if you’d like to join us from June 18-23. We’ll be photographing brown bears with cubs in Lake Clark National Park. Click here for more information.

We’ll be posting photos from these two trips on Instragram @tombolphoto and Facebook. We’d love to see your photos on our Photos for Inspiration TBPW Facebook Page.

Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month – April 2023

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For April we chose an image from our Tucson Workshop created by Suzy Onysko. Suzy is a wildlife and portrait photographer. Her work is wonderfully creative and she often carries an infrared camera in addition to her regular gear. We hope you enjoy Suzy’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to April 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Susan Onysko

The Story… 

Well, this never, ever happens… at least to me anyway. This photograph was taken the first morning of our workshop at Gates Pass. I started out using a wide-angle lens to photograph the yellow brittle bush in the foreground and the stunning rocks, cacti, and clouds in the background. I love color and that was a pop of color in the desert that I didn’t expect. It was pretty windy out, though, and I worried about the flowers ghosting too much in the foreground. I looked for another foreground element and found this stunning barrel cactus. 

I took a few shots in color first. They looked nice but with the clouds in the scene and yellow flowers not being an important element anymore, I ran back to the car. I got my infrared camera to see how that would look. I quickly changed my preview screen to show the image in black and white instead of the out of camera red preview. I shot a frame and the infrared image took my breath away.

 I will be the first to admit that wide angle landscape photography is not my forte, so when I get an image I like I am quick to analyze why I like it. Hopefully in the future I come to “see” that image a bit quicker in the field.  Why do we like the desert? The textures of the prickly cactus is what we are drawn to and what it’s known for. By taking away the color I enhanced all the desert textures and shapes. The clouds enhanced it by adding a bit more mood.

Did I click once and be done? Oh no… I took two hundred images of this scene (no judging, it’s free!) by changing my position mere inches up, down, left, and right until the cactus was just big enough in the foreground but not too big to overwhelm the rest of the scene. I liked how the barrel cactus was the focal point, but by showing some mid-ground I also included some prickly pear cactus which led to some Saguaro Cactus and an impressive rock formation and then those incredible clouds! 

April 2023 Photo of the Month

EXIF Data:

Camera: Nikon Z9

Lens: Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Lens

ISO: 2000 (did I denoise it? Nope – I like the grainy effect for a western black and white image) 

Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec

Aperture: f/11

Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority

Shot at 15mm, handheld

About Photographing in Saguaro National Park

I am from the Midwest and love unusual landscapes that I do not get to see at home. Death Valley is another place that I love. I find that the desert and Death Valley both give an other-worldly vibe that I adore. We were fortunate enough to have the yellow brittle bush blooming while we were there which for me added an unexpected element. What a happy surprise! 

This trip truly has something for everyone, and the variety helped me and my ADD brain! It offered wide landscape desert views, macro photography, bird photography, and at Old Tucson we photographed some very dashing cowboys. Check on the portrait photography also! 

Saguaro and Brittle Bush with a 600mm lens

One of my favorite things we worked on was long lens landscape shooting. I often have a hard time seeing the wide angle shot that are right in front of me, sun stars included. It’s like all clutter to me since there is so much going on. Many times in the past I have used a 70-200mm or 100-400 mm to isolate more intimate scenes in a landscape. Tom encouraged me to try using my 600mm to do this and I have to say that I am hooked. I look insane carrying the beast of a lens for a landscape shot, but the images created using this lens have such mood. Cacti framed by yellow flowers look so mysterious and I feel like a spectator viewing and interpreting the relationships between desert subjects as opposed to just pointing and shooting at them. 

Gambel’s Quail at the Desert Photo Retreat

About the Quail Image

I love shooting from bird blinds – I was hooked after going on the Texas Bird trip. I will be the first to admit I struggle when finding/seeing/shooting birds in the wild handheld. I get too spastic and excited when I see them. Animal eye tracking on the Nikon Z9 is slowly helping with that issue, but being able to slow down on a tripod with a gimbal to help stabilize the camera makes all the difference in the world. If you know me, I am not normally a tripod fan so when I say that it means a lot!

This Gambel’s Quail is probably like a pigeon to those who live out West but for me this little guy had so much spunk and personality. He was my favorite bird I photographed on the trip. I was determined to get a shot that showed more of his personality than just him strutting across a log, which he did a lot! When he paused for a split second on the log and pondered what his next move would be I saw my chance and shot away. I loved the curve of his head and how the log swirl underneath him mimicked his body position. I looked for a photo that didn’t have his tail merging into the log and was fortunate to have one. This image will be hanging in my house and hopefully others. 

Saguaros in infrared at Saguaro National Park – West

Suzy’s Tips for Photographing in the Desert with Infrared

Tip #1) IR works beautifully: it gives an Old West feel to the images. If you ever play with IR, do more than just make a preset for it and call it done. I love playing with all the different LR black and white presets. By doing just that with my multiple infrared images here they all take on a different look. Ethereal, contrasty, ghostlike… you have all the control and can change the mood of the image with one click. I recently converted one of my Z9s to a Deep BW IR conversion through Lifepixel.

For at least ten years I have been converting my oldest camera to infrared through Lifepixel and I am always thrilled with the results. I went mirrorless last year and had to upgrade all my gear. Instead of using my oldest camera (that didn’t exist) I purchased an already converted Nikon Zfc through Lifepixel. I chose the Zfc because it was only ½ lb. It worked well, but it ended up being the only camera in my bag with completely different controls. To make things easier on myself last month I decided to convert a Nikon Z9 body so that all my controls were the same on all my camera bodies. I was thrilled with the results. My fingers knew the controls by heart and I was no longer fumbling, trying to learn a new camera body. As an added bonus the 45 megapixel infrared files are stunning compared the 20 megapixel images of the Zfc! 

Tip #2) Bring every focal length: 14-840mm. I did for this trip (my family thought I was insane) and used every one of them!

Tip #3) Mind your body in the field. Jumping Cholla (look them up) are not to be messed with. A week later and I still have bruises where I was nailed by two little balls. 

On Suzy’s Horizon:

Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya in June

Hummingbirds in Madera Canyon, Arizona and Ecuador in July

Eagles at Chilkat in Alaska

Cypress trees in the Texas Bayous

Cosplayers at conventions in Vermont, Indiana, Wyoming, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Maine for my personal project – Cosplay 50: The United States of Cosplay.

Suzy in Valparaiso, Chile

Want to join us in Tucson in 2025? Click here

Last minute openings on 2023 workshops:

Bears at Lake Clark, June 18-23 – 1 space available. Photograph grizzly bears with cubs in Alaska Click here

Where are Tom and Cree?

We are headed to the Lone Star State for our annual Texas Birds in Spring (space available). If we are lucky, we will see Painted Buntings all over the ponds.

We hope spring has finally arrived in your area of the world. We’d love to see what you are photographing. Post your spring images on our Photos for Inspiration TBPW Facebook Page.

Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

February 2023 Photo of the Month

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For February we chose an image from our Norway in Winter Workshop created by Ellie Burns-Brookens. Ellie is new to Tom Bol Photo Workshops and recently traveled to both Patagonia and Norway with us. We hope you enjoy Ellie’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to February 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Ellie Burns-Brookens

The Story… 

We walked through a little gate and could see this amazing color down the fjord. It was a lovely fjord with a beautiful view, but it was the color that first caught my attention.

The challenge for me was deciding what to include. What was my composition? What was my subject? The little town on the fjord caught my attention. There were so many beautiful things in the area.

I decided the color was the most interesting thing about the scene.

I had my 24-70mm on the camera to capture the entire scene. But I decided the mountains, the orange light and the sun were the real subject of the photo.

February 2023 Photo of the Month

I switched lenses in the freezing cold, which I never do, so I could zoom in more on the mountains.

Then, I noticed that there was a very large dynamic range to the scene. I asked myself, “What do I do now?”.

I decided to wait for the sun rays to peak through the clouds and then take 3 different exposures. I did this manually and shot at 0, then -1, then -2. I blended the 3 images in Lightroom. I wanted to bring the direct sunlight down and get some more definition in the brighter areas.

We saw this combination of orange and blue light several times in Norway. It almost did not look real, but that was the color it was. It was so stunning.

EXIF Data:

Canon R6 with a 70-200mm lens

ISO 100 1/800 sec f8

Aperture Mode

Shot at 138mm on a tripod

About Photographing in the Lofoten Islands

Every time I turned around it was “Oh my god!” It was so beautiful everywhere we went. There were small villages, tall mountains and stunning fjords.

I loved the snow. I really like the constant contrast of the orange, blue, read and yellow with the snow.

I think the Lofoten Islands are the most beautiful place that I’ve brought my camera to.

Ellie’s Tips for Travel Photography

Tip 1: Research in advance to figure out where to go. I often look at 500px. I like to know where other people have shot.

Tip 2: Then look for what is interesting when you get there. I look for curves, angles and leading lines.

Tip 3: Remember what your subject is. Try to tell a story with an image.

On Ellie’s Horizon:

Lake District in England – big rolling landscapes

Highlands in Scotland – old castle ruins

Faroe Islands – quirky cousin of Iceland

Ellie composing her image in Norway

Last minute openings on 2023 workshops:

Louisiana Birds and Bayous, May 10-14, 2023 – 2 spaces available. Photograph wading birds in the beautiful cypress swamps of Cajun Country in Louisiana Click here

Bears at Lake Clark, June 18-23 – 1 space available. Photograph grizzly bears with cubs in Alaska Click here

Ecuador Cloud Forest July 30-August 7, 2023 – 1 space available. Photograph exotic hummingbirds with long tails and beaks, toucans, barbets and more: Click here

Where are Tom and Cree?

Next stop: We are headed to Alaska next for an assignment with the Matanuska-Susitna Visitor’s Bureau. We’ll be photographing the Iditarod start in Willow, snow machining, skiing, snow shoeing. If we are lucky, we will find some aurora at night as well.

We hope you are enjoying the winter photography in your area of the world. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

January Photo of the Month

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For January we chose an image from our Easter Island Workshop created by Keith Eisele. Keith is a fan of using artificial lights and jumped right in with a speed light when he saw our Rapa Nui dancers. We hope you enjoy Keith’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to January 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Keith Eisele

Keith using his Z9 in Easter Island

The Story… 

The light was rapidly decreasing as the sun was going down. To me that meant it was the perfect time to use a speed light.

There was just enough ambient light to pick up the statues in the background. With a native dancer in traditional attire, I really wanted to show the Moai statues in the background.

I took a couple of test shots to make sure the light wasn’t too hot. I was pleased that the shadows from the feathers on his hand showed up on his body.

I wanted to make sure the horizon line did not cross any major parts of the body like his head or hands. This would create too much of a distraction. I ended up down on the ground sitting on my derriere to get the horizon line where I wanted it.

January 2023 Photo of the Month

It was tough to get separation between the dancer and the statues. He moved a lot while posing and then would freeze for just a few seconds. The feathers often merged with the statue and I really wanted to get clean separation in the image.

I really liked this image because of the lean of his body. His leg creates a strong leading line in the image.

It felt to me that the dancers really knew what they were doing. I noticed that they never touched, even though they had very good rapport. The male was very patient and willing to look at us. There were not at all self-conscious. It made them very easy to photograph.

EXIF Data:

Nikon Z9 with a 24-70mm lens

ISO 200 1/60sec f5.6

Manual Mode

Shot at 27mm

About Photographing on Easter Island

I really enjoyed it.

I also found it somewhat challenging. Because of all the clouds moving around, the light changed very quickly. I had to be on top of my settings all of the time.

Overall, I really enjoyed the trip. Of course you expect to shoot statues on Easter Island. I also really enjoyed the hike through the quarry where the Moai statues were excavated.

Keith’s Tips for Photographing Portraits

Tip 1: I’m still learning

When I’m shooting someone, even if it is someone I already know, I have to establish a new rapport. They may be nervous about the lights or they haven’t worked with me as a photographer before.

I set the camera down and walk over to them. I explain what I have in mind for the shot and ask them “What would you like?”

Tip 2: You can tell people where you want them to stand and how you want them to pose. I prefer to show them and demonstrate what I want.

Tip 3: After I have taken a few frames, I show them an example of what I’m getting. Sometimes I even shoot tethered. Then they can see the results as soon as I can.

On Keith’s Horizon:

Lofoten Islands in Norway – returning for Northern Lights

Faroe Islands


Ouray, Coroado

Oaxaca, Mexico

Paris, France

Keith and John – always together on a shoot

Just 5 openings left on domestic trips in 2023:

Old Car City Workshop, March 30-April 2 – 2 spaces available . Use speed lights on classic cars and models. Click here

Bears at Lake Clark, June 18-23 – 1 space available. Photograph grizzly bears with cubs in Alaska Click here

Route 66 East from Oct 25-29 – 2 spaces available . Learn about speed lights for creative effect. Click here

Where are Tom and Cree?

Next stop: Lofoten islands in Norway. We hope to find crystal clear nights with green Northern Lights reflecting of water and snowy surfaces. Bring on the cold!

We hope you are enjoying the winter photography in your area of the world. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month Dec 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For December we chose an image from our Patagonia Photo Workshop created by Greg Ness. Greg has photographed wildlife in Patagonia several times and was delighted with his condor encounter on this trip. We hope you enjoy Greg’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to December 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Greg Ness

Greg, dressed for the weather, at the Mirador del Condores (Condor Viewpoint)

The Story… 

It was humorous. When we arrived on scene we looked like a cautious infantry unit. Everyone took 5 steps forward. Then everyone took 5 more steps. The condor was eye balling us the whole time. It must have been thinking, “What are they doing?”

I was using the Sony A1 because I was hoping for a flight shot. I figured if he did fly it would be a very quick shot. I got a couple of decent flight shots but they were kind of at an angle that did not show off his wings.

I loved the bird just sitting there. What an interesting face. You have to ask yourself, what is it about that bird? A face that could stop a truck. Why is it designed like that. I am sure bird experts have some interesting theories on that. I wanted to show the interesting features.

December 2022 Photo of the Month

The light was just right. We had intermittent sunshine. It illuminated the grass right in front of the bird. This made for a nice counterpoint to the dark body of the bird.

I would like to know why it sat there as long as it did. It must have been eating something.

After I got home I did some research. The condor is the biggest flying bird in the world if you combine wingspan (up to 10 ft) and weight (up to 30 pounds). We saw them all over the place. With the Patagonian winds they barely have to flap their wings to take off.

EXIF Data:

Sony AI Sony 200-600 mm f5-6.3 lens at 600 mm

ISO 500 1/2000 sec f6.3

Aperture Priority Mode

Exposure compensation -.03

The view of Mt Fitzroy when heading into Chalten

About Photographing in Patagonia

One of the things that intrigued me about Patagonia is its ties to our past. Anyone who lives in Colorado asks themselves, wouldn’t it be fun to transport yourself back to the Old West. Some one described Patagonia as being like the Old West – large plains, mountain ranges, dramatic weather.

It’s big and wild there. It’s also hard to get to a lot of the places. It keeps the majority of the tourists out. You have to work for photographs in Patagonia. Even if you get to the locations, you can spend days trying to get a picture of Fitzroy or El Chalten and never see it.

This means you have to have patience. The last day we were in Torres del Paine. The calm waters were incredible. How many people have seen that before?

Calm waters at Hosteria Pehoe, our hotel for 3 days

Greg’s Tips for Photographing in Patagonia

Tip 1: I took two rented lenses. This was not a great idea. Know your lenses and know your camera equipment really well. If Marcos is sprinting across the pond on his horse, you may only get one shot of it.

Zoom lenses are really valuable to have. A condor is sitting on the ground, but it could fly at any minute. My suggestions are: 100-500mm and 70-200 and 24-70mm. Take two bodies: anything could happen.

Tip 2: The weather was like last time. It would almost knock you over one day and the next day, no wind. Shoot a lot on the good days. Consider black and white for the cloudy days.

Tip 3: I liked using black and white for the gaucho photos. It fits with the idea of a hard to get to place that is almost lost in time. It has not changed that much in the last 9 years. But it will slowly change.

Patagonian Grey Fox at ground level

On Greg’s Horizon:

Wanaka in New Zealand

Lofoten in Norway – want to return for hiking

Arizona for a month – both hiking and photography

Polar regions -Greenland, Iceland

Cruise to Northern Greenland

Faroe Islands

Madeira in Spain

Greg photographing a Porcelan Orchid

Workshop News

Few spots left: Masking Made Easy: Online Editing Class. Brush up on your editing skills and learn how to use new masking features in either PhotoShop or Lightroom as well as older features like luminosity masks. Click here to learn more.

Few Spots Left: Old Car City Workshop from March 30-April 2, 2023. Photograph classic cars in the Georgia hardwoods. Learn about speed lights for creative effect. Click here to read more.

Where are Tom and Cree?

We are just back from a personal trip to Jackson, Wyoming. We photographed Great Gray Owls, Moose and Coyotes and had a splendid ski in front of the Tetons on New Years Day.

We hope you have a wonderful 2023 and find plenty of time to take photos. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month November 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For November we chose an image from our Botswana and Zimbabwe Photo Workshop created by Alex Sneiders. Alex has photographed wildlife in Africa several times and was happy to finally see a Serval Cat on this trip. We hope you enjoy Alex’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to November 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Alex Sneiders

Alex in action on the Chobe River in Botswana

The Story… 

I was enjoying the scene. I was fascinated by the vultures waiting in the wings on the tree. I visualized the clouds as they were coming in and the impending rain. I tried to capture all of that in the photo.

The dead elephant had a whole pride of lions enthralled with eating. They totally ignored us.

November 2022 Photo of the Month

I was captivated by the elephant being in one corner of the frame and the vultures in another corner.

I shot in Infrared with the intent of shooting a couple of unique images. This was my favorite so far.

I converted the camera with Lifepixel. It is much easier to shoot IR with a mirrorless camera. The focus is automatic with mirrorless but not with a SLR or DSLR.

I was trying to do a color conversion at first. I found that with the color conversion, there was too great of a departure from what it actually looked like. I find that the black and white versions frequently come out elegantly.

EXIF Data:

Nikon Z7 with IR Conversion, Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens shot at 51 mm

ISO 800 1/2500 sec f4

Aperture Priority Mode

About Photographing in Botswana and Zimbabwe

The difference between these countries and my previous safaris was mainly the Chobe River in Botswana. There were lower views of the wildlife and faster action.

There was a different variety of animals, particularly in the bird life. That was the highlight of the trip for me.

When using the pre-release feature while photographing Malachite Kingfishers, I learned that the jpeg images are quite good. You have to be patient and keep your finger on the shutter button.

When using Pre-release, you have to cull through all of your images to find a few pieces of gold.

Malachite Kingfisher captured with Nikon’s Pre-release

Alex’s Tips for Photographing on Safari:

Tip 1: Bring lots of cards. I took 45 thousand photos on this trip. That is a record for me. Using Pre-release with the Nikon Z9 added a ton of jpegs

Tip 2: Be patient

Tip 3: Practice focusing. Play around with different focus patterns modes like 3D, wide area large and single point. Practice switching between them as well.

Low key giraffe from Splash Camp in Botswana

On Alex’s Horizon:






Faroe Islands




Alex getting to know the wildlife in Zimbabwe

Workshop News

Just Added: Masking Made Easy: Online Editing Class. Join us in mid January to brush up on your editing skills and learn how to use all the new masking features in either PhotoShop or Lightroom. Click here to learn more.

Space is still available on our Old Car City Workshop from March 30-April 2, 2023. Photograph classic cars in the Georgia hardwoods. Learn about speed lights for creative effect. Click here to read more.

Where are Tom and Cree?

We are traveling in Argentina and Chile right now with our Patagonia Workshop. Look for updates on social media.

Enjoy the holidays. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month – October 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For October we chose an image from our Acadia Fall Colors Workshop created by Traci Rickman. Traci is a real estate photographer and is equally at home photographing landscapes. We hope you enjoy Traci’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to October 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Traci Rickman

Traci in the lobster town of Bernard, Maine

The Story… 

I almost missed the window of opportunity. I didn’t have a lot of time because I had stayed back to photograph the Bubbles. Everyone else headed over to capture the fog earlier than I did.

The sun was filtering in from the right side of the frame. By the time I arrived, Tom was saying “Here it comes.” I set up and started shooting quickly. You can just see a bit of sun filtering into the scene below the fog.

I just love the color in this, mm mm mm!

I tried to fill up my frame with color.

There were more grass clusters in the foreground, but they had hot spots on them from the sun coming in. I took them out with Lightroom and PhotoShop to get rid of some of the hot grass.

October 2022 Photo of the Month

EXIF Data:

Nikon D500, Nikon 70-200mm lens shot at 70 mm

F16, 1/10 sec, ISO 100 on a tripod

Exposure Compensation -2.0

Aperture Mode

About Photographing in Acadia National Park

I love Acadia. I love Bar Harbor. This was the second time I’ve been there. I was excited to go back with Tom and Cree.

The first time I went I was a bit overwhelmed.

I felt like I missed a lot of the shots. I did more artistoc compositions. When I got back home my husband said “Did you look at rocks the whole time?” This time I wanted to get more iconic shots.

I focused on shooting what spoke to me. I realized that in the past I was shooting what I thought other people wanted to see.

On this trip I wanted to redeem myself!

Sunrise at Otter Rock

Traci’s Tips for Photographing Landscapes:

Tip 1: Photograph what speaks to you. Other people will find other subjects to focus on. Find your own subjects.

Tip 2: Broaden your view. Don’t get so focused on what is in your camera viewfinder.

Look behind you. Look around. I will often take out my cellphone and see things differently with it. It helps me see the larger view. Then I’ll take out my camera…..

Tip 3: Try moving three feet to the side or one foot vertically.

When I photographed the foggy scene (below) I decided to walk down the road from where everyone else was standing. I was really drawn in by the grasses and the lines leading into the red tree. Instead of shooting a tight shot with just the red tree, I decided I liked this composition better.

I do this a lot in real estate photography. I’ll move to the right or left by just one foot when photographing a room. Often time this move makes the shot.

Foggy scene in Acadia National Park

On Traci’s Horizon:

Costa Rica

Redwoods National Park

Congratulations Traci

Workshop News

We added another Acadia Fall Colors Workshop for October 2025. Just 2 spaces left. Click here to learn more.

By popular demand we also added our Old Car City Workshop from March 3-April 2, 2023. Photograph classic cars in the Georgia hardwoods. Learn about speed lights for creative effect. Click here to read more.

Finally, we will be heading to Oaxaca, Mexico in January 2024 to explore Day of the Dead inspired portraits and colorful travel photos Click here to read more.

Where are Tom and Cree?

We have been enjoying a few weeks at home in Fort Collins. Our last two workshops of 2022 are in Botswana & Zimbabwe and then on to Argentina and Chile for our Patagonia Workshop. We will keep you updated on social media.

Looking forward to winter and the holidays. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month September 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For September we chose an image from our Lofoten Norway Workshop created by Lauren King. Lauren was in the right spot at the right time. As a portrait photographer Lauren immediately was drawn to the couple on the beach. We hope you enjoy Lauren’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to September 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Lauren King

Lauren King in Lofoten, Norway

The Story… 

We were all on the beach. We wanted to make sure we had lined up for the shot without other people being in the shot. I had my super-wide lens on to capture the full arch of the creek.

I have been trying to work on shooting from different angles. I was holding my camera above my head and finger touching on the screen. Then this couple walked into the scene.

I waited for the couple to find their spot. Then…..voila! It just happened.

September 2022 Photo of the Month

I have been working on sunstars and sunstar placement in my images. Getting a sunstar right behind the little mountain with the couple in the foreground was my goal.

I did very little in post process. I smoothed some of the sand in the foreground. I also worked on slightly cropping the image so that the sunstar was in the right place and the couple’s shadow was still in the frame.

EXIF Data:

Nikon Z6ii, Nikon 14-24 lens shot at 15 mm

F22, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

Manual Mode

Lauren’s Tips for Photographing Travel Images:

Tip 1: Think outside of the box. Think about what people are not getting. What can you shoot that is not right in front of your face? What is not obvious?

Tip 2: Use the reticulating screen. If you use the screen when shooting people, they may not realize you are taking a photo. This means they will be less self-conscious in the image.

Fall color on a Norwegian Fjord

About Photographing in the Lofoten Islands

Oh my goodness, it was amazing!

I felt like we were lucky with the weather. I expected a lot of greens from Norway. I did not expect all the reds and yellows at ground level. We photographed at a small lake one day and I could have stayed there all day.

Lofoten is very pristine. It was nice to be out in the fresh air. From the grand views to the tiny flowers – there was always something to shoot. There were worlds within worlds.

Looking for what is not obvious in Nusfjord

Cabin Shoots:

Everybody was at Nusfjord and went up the hill above the yellow cabin. It was muddy and I did not think I would make it up there.

I told myself to go back down and find something that no body else had seen. I went in between the buildings and this is what I found (image above).

I did very little in post process for this image. I cropped a small bit. I also removed a person who was standing below one of the windows in front of the yellow cabin.

In my mind this was a modern take on Norway even though they are old cabins.

At Statles Rorbuer, where we stayed I went out by myself on an afternoon break. Even before I got to Norway, I knew I wanted to try selective color on the cabins. I saw the line-up of cabins and knew it was the right one for my image. I used a color range mask to select the cabins and worked with Cree on the editing.

Selective Color at Statles Rorbuer

On Lauren’s Horizon:

Inagua Island, Bahamas for flamingos

France near Paris

Route 66 West

Austria and Switzerland

Everywhere else without snakes!

We are headed back to the Lofoten Islands in Norway this winter on February 18-25 for snowy landscapes and the Northern Lights. Space is still available. Click here to read more.

Where are Tom and Cree?

We are looking forward to our next photo adventure in Acadia National Park. Mid-October is the perfect time to be in Maine for red fall leaves and we are headed there next week with a full group of photographers.

To see our 2023 schedule, click here

We hope you are enjoying a great fall. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month August 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For August we chose an image from our Galapagos Workshop created by Ned Reese. We hope you enjoy Ned’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to August 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Ned Reese

Ned Reese on Espanola Island in the Galapagos

The Story… 

I had about 70 images of the night heron. Going through them, that one was in the middle of the string of images.

It was stunning when I brought it up in Photo Mechanic. The image is almost untouched. I did very little to improve it. It was almost an accident.

I like tight framed shots of wildlife, shots of the face, with interesting facial expressions. Animals are not too distant from humans. You can read their faces. You could put a lot of captions on that frame.

August 2022 Photo of the Month

When we landed on Genovese Island, there were birds everywhere. It was early on in the trip. It was kind of like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. There was so much going on around us.

This was a different kind of shooting for me. There was so much activity and life everywhere we turned. On Everest I learned to step back and take in the environment before starting to shoot. You cannot do that in the Galapagos. I found myself grabbing the camera and just trying to be cognizant of all of the correct settings while shooting.

I like this image more every time I look at it. It speaks to what I was trying to get, an interesting facial expression and tack sharp details. I have been doing a lot of photography recently, listening, being around Tom and Cree. My photography has improved by magnitudes.

EXIF Data:

Nikon D850, Nikon 80-400 lens shot at 310 mm

F10, 1/2000 sec, ISO 3200

Manual Mode, auto ISO

Ned’s Tips for Photographing Wildlife:

Take a lot of shots

Auto ISO is key to shooting in manual. Tom insisted I try it and it was awkward at first. It made it much easier in the long run. You learn more about your camera too.

Sultry Sealion

About Photographing in the Galapagos

To be honest, at first Galapagos was just another workshop. I have been working more on my technique than on locations. Everybody talks about the Galapagos. I wasn’t prepared for the reality of being on the ground and photographing there.

In retrospect, it was in the top 5 of all my favorite photo locations.

It was special in ways I am still learning about. There is so much life there. It is so prevalent, everywhere. It’s like wall paper. On bear trips you have to go out and find the bears. On this trip, animals are everywhere.

The sailboat made it even more special. I’d go back but only on a sailboat. Darwin and Fitzroy explored the Galapagos in a ship. This was an associative experience for me. I can’t image doing it any other way.

Flamingos on Rabida Island

Flamingo Shoot:

We hiked into the pond and flamingos were all over the place. It was a sunny day with a lot of contrast and there was not much activity. We decided to walk to the end of the pond and it looked like they were going to do something. My arm was getting tired from holding up my 500mm lens for so long….

When they took off, I took 30-40 images of them flying. This image was a statistical success. It had the right light, good composition and everything was sharp.

Sealion in the surf on Rabida Island

On Ned’s Horizon:

New Zealand

Africa: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa



“I just like to go….”

Ned photographing a Giant Land Tortoise

Where are Tom and Cree?

With Fall right around the corner, we are headed to Alaska for our Brown Bear Safari in Katmai National Park. We are back home just a few days before heading to Norway and on to New Zealand in September.

With so much travel in September we will do our best to answer your questions while on the road. This will be our busiest month since starting our business five years ago. By October things will slow down and we will be in the office more often. Thanks for your patience. We are almost caught up from all the postponed trips from 2020 and 2021.

To see our 2023 schedule, click here

We hope you are enjoying a great summer. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month July 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For July we chose an image from our Glacier Workshop created by Eric Lacey. Eric traveled with us to the North American Indian Days in Browning, Montana. We hope you enjoy Eric’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to July 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Eric Lacey

Portrait of Eric by Kim Lafleur with a f1.2 portrait lens

The Story… 

I was looking for an opportunity to photograph a Native American person. I wanted to minimize all the distractions in the background. I was paying as much attention to what was in the background then to what the boy was doing.

Everyone at the event was phenomenally cooperative.

I took 4 or 5 photos with the boy standing in this position. I liked this one the most. He looks contemplative.

Photo of the Month July 2022

Aperture of f2.8: The tepees in the background give it a sense of place. I wanted enough bokeh in the background to blur it but also I wanted the viewer to be able to tell what it is.

Shutter Speed 1/8000: It was a bright sunny day so I shot at a really high shutter speed (1/8000 sec) This is the highest my camera would allow.

Exposure compensation of -1: I always shoot with some negative exposure compensation if I am shooting in aperture mode. I prefer lightening up an image rather than darkening it down in post process. I didn’t want to blow out any of the highlights.

This was the first time I used my mirrorless for portrait work. I was pleased with how it performed. I just love the EVF info and being able to see the histogram in real time. It simplifies the actual shooting.

EXIF Data:

Canon R5, Canon 70-200 RF 2.8 shot at 95mm

F2.8, 1/8000 sec, ISO 200

Aperture Mode, Exposure Comp of -1

Tips for Portraits:

Keep shooting – you will end up with a lot that aren’t great. Increase your keeper ratio by shooting plenty of frames.

Control the background – I didn’t move around the subject much. I knew I wanted the tepees in the background as a frame behind him.

Control the light – we had strong overhead sunlight, so I had to work with that. I softened the light in post. Luckily his headdress didn’t cast too much of a shadow on his face.

Sunrise at Swiftcurrent Lake in GNP

About Photographing in and near Glacier

Glacier exceeded my expectations photographically.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect because Glacier is less well known as a national park. The vistas aren’t as iconic. Compare it to Yosemite. Everyone knows about Half Dome and El Cap. I was very pleasantly surprised.

As for Browning and Indian Days, I thought it was one of the best parts of the trip. The photography was very different for me. Aside from the photography, I really enjoyed just watching. The remembrance tributes were really moving.

Taking portraits was a great way to expand my photographic check list. It was something we hadn’t done before. I took hundreds of photos and only had two keepers. It was really a blast!

Eric learned his lesson with this image

My Lesson Learned:

We went out the first morning and we had a beautiful pink sunrise. I thought the shoot was over and packed everything up and headed to the car. As I was walking up the hill, I heard Tom say, “Look at the light”.

I ran back down and unpacked everything. I used my ND grad filter to darken the sky in this image.

I learned that you don’t pack up until you’re sure the show is over!

On Eric’s Horizon:

Pantanal in Brazil

Puffins on Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine

Oregon Coast & Redwoods


Eric and Kim photographing horses on route to Browning, Montana

Where are Tom and Cree?

As you read this we are sailing around the Galapagos Islands with a group on a three masted sailboat. We will be back in the office from August 8-12 and then off to Greenland with Strabo Tours to photograph enormous icebergs in Disko Bay.

Want to join us for an international adventure? We have a few spots open:

New Zealand Sept 22-Oct 3, 2022

Norway Sept 11-18, 2022

Patagonia Nov 29-Dec 9, 2022

We hope you are having a great summer. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

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